Seekers after God by F. W. Farrar - PDF ebook (1885)

Seekers after God by F. W.  Farrar 

Seekers after God
Seekers after God by F. W.  Farrar 


I have endeavored in the following pages to give in a popular manner as full an account of the lives and opinions of three great heathen philosophers as was possible in the space at my command. In the title of the book they are called " Seekers after God," and surely they deserve that title if it may be given to men who, amid infinite difficulties and surrounded by a corrupt society, devoted themselves to the earnest search after those truths which might best make their lives " beautiful before God." 

The Divine declaration that " every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh, findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened" does not apply to Christians only. 

It would indeed be a bitter and bigoted view of the world's history that should refuse to acknowledge the noble standard of morality and practice to which the invisible workings of God's Holy Spirit enabled many of the heathen to attain. 

We know that there were those among them whose virtue and charity, in spite of their dim and imperfect knowledge, might put many a Christian to the blush; we may believe with unfeigned gratitude that in " seeking after the Lord, if haply they might feel after Him and find Him," they learned to recognize that deep and ennobling truth to which some of their own poets had given expression, that " He is not far from every one of us, for in Him we live, and move, and have our being." 

Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius are not only the most clear-sighted moralists among ancient philoso^ phers, but are also, with the single exception of Socrates, the best and holiest characters presented to us in the records of antiquity. In many respects Seneca is wholly unworthy to be placed by their side, nor have I attempted to gloss over his terrible inconsistencies. 

Yet in spite of all his failures, he was a good man, and we must apply to those who speak of him without consideration or generosity, the censure of Gothe : — " Und steh' beschamt wenn Du bekennen musst Ein guter Mensch in seinem dunkeln Drange 1st sick des rechtes Weges wokl bewusst." Had more space been at my command, that further examination of his writings which formed part of my original plan would perhaps have placed him higher in the reader's estimation; but I have entered into the details of his life because I had the ulterior object of showing what was at that time the moral and political condition of the Roman world, and in what atmosphere the influences of Christianity were forced to work. 

The two subsequent biographies will show us how in every estate of life the grace of God was sufficient to enable men to struggle successfully with immense temptations, — sufficient to make any man pure and holy who aimed at being so, — sufficient to give humility, and patience, and tenderness to an irresponsible eRoman Emperor, and freedom, and contentment, and imperial magnanimity to a persecuted Phrygian slave.

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